California State Standards
Biology/Life Sciences - Grades 9-12
Standards that all students are expected to achieve in the
course of their studies are unmarked.
Standards that all students should have the opportunity to learn
are marked with an asterisk (*).
Standards obtained from California Department of Education
- The fundamental life processes of plants and animals depend on a variety of chemical reactions that occur in specialized areas of the organism's cells. As a basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know cells are enclosed within semipermeable membranes that regulate their interaction with their surroundings.
- Students know enzymes are proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions without altering the reaction equilibrium and the activities of enzymes depend on the temperature, ionic conditions, and the pH of the surroundings.
- Students know how prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells (including those from plants and animals), and viruses differ in complexity and general structure.
- Students know the central dogma of molecular biology outlines the flow of information from transcription of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the nucleus to translation of proteins on ribosomes in the cytoplasm.
- Students know the role of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus in the secretion of proteins.
- Students know usable energy is captured from sunlight by chloroplasts and is stored through the synthesis of sugar from carbon dioxide.
- Students know the role of the mitochondria in making stored chemical-bond energy available to cells by completing the breakdown of glucose to carbon dioxide.
- Students know most macromolecules (polysaccharides, nucleic acids, proteins, lipids) in cells and organisms are synthesized from a small collection of simple precursors.
- * Students know how chemiosmotic gradients in the mitochondria and chloroplast store energy for ATP production.
- * Students know how eukaryotic cells are given shape and internal organization by a cytoskeleton or cell wall or both.
- Mutation and sexual reproduction lead to genetic variation
in a population. As a basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know meiosis is an early step in sexual
reproduction in which the pairs of chromosomes separate
and segregate randomly during cell division to produce gametes
containing one chromosome of each type.
- Students know only certain cells in a multicellular
organism undergo meiosis.
- Students know how random chromosome segregation
explains the probability that a particular allele will be
in a gamete.
- Students know new combinations of alleles may
be generated in a zygote through the fusion of male and
female gametes (fertilization).
- Students know why approximately half of an individual's
DNA sequence comes from each parent.
- Students know the role of chromosomes in determining
an individual's sex.
- Students know how to predict possible combinations
of alleles in a zygote from the genetic makeup of the parents.
- A multicellular organism develops from a single zygote, and
its phenotype depends on its genotype, which is established
at fertilization. As a basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know how to predict the probable outcome
of phenotypes in a genetic cross from the genotypes of the
parents and mode of inheritance (autosomal or X-linked,
dominant or recessive).
- Students know the genetic basis for Mendel's
laws of segregation and independent assortment.
- * Students know how to predict the probable mode
of inheritance from a pedigree diagram showing phenotypes.
- * Students know how to use data on frequency
of recombination at meiosis to estimate genetic distances
between loci and to interpret genetic maps of chromosomes.
- Genes are a set of instructions encoded in the DNA sequence
of each organism that specify the sequence of amino acids in
proteins characteristic of that organism. As a basis for understanding
- Students know the general pathway by which ribosomes
synthesize proteins, using tRNAs to translate genetic information
- Students know how to apply the genetic coding
rules to predict the sequence of amino acids from a sequence
of codons in RNA.
- Students know how mutations in the DNA sequence
of a gene may or may not affect the expression of the gene
or the sequence of amino acids in an encoded protein.
- Students know specialization of cells in multicellular
organisms is usually due to different patterns of gene expression
rather than to differences of the genes themselves.
- Students know proteins can differ from one another
in the number and sequence of amino acids.
- * Students know why proteins having different
amino acid sequences typically have different shapes and
- The genetic composition of cells can be altered by incorporation
of exogenous DNA into the cells. As a basis for understanding
- Students know the general structures and functions
of DNA, RNA, and protein.
- Students know how to apply base-pairing rules
to explain precise copying of DNA during semiconservative
replication and transcription of information from DNA into
- Students know how genetic engineering (biotechnology)
is used to produce novel biomedical and agricultural products.
- * Students know how basic DNA technology (restriction
digestion by endonucleases, gel electrophoresis, ligation,
and transformation) is used to construct recombinant DNA
- * Students know how exogenous DNA can be inserted
into bacterial cells to alter their genetic makeup and support
expression of new protein products.
- Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing
effects. As a basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know biodiversity is the sum total of
different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations
- Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem
resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction
of nonnative species, or changes in population size.
- Students know how fluctuations in population
size in an ecosystem are determined by the relative rates
of birth, immigration, emigration, and death.
- Students know how water, carbon, and nitrogen
cycle between abiotic resources and organic matter in the
ecosystem and how oxygen cycles through photosynthesis and
- Students know a vital part of an ecosystem is
the stability of its producers and decomposers.
- Students know at each link in a food web some
energy is stored in newly made structures but much energy
is dissipated into the environment as heat. This dissipation
may be represented in an energy pyramid.
- * Students know how to distinguish between the
accommodation of an individual organism to its environment
and the gradual adaptation of a lineage of organisms through
- The frequency of an allele in a gene pool of a population
depends on many factors and may be stable or unstable over time.
As a basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know why natural selection acts on the
phenotype rather than the genotype of an organism.
- Students know why alleles that are lethal in
a homozygous individual may be carried in a heterozygote
and thus maintained in a gene pool.
- Students know new mutations are constantly being
generated in a gene pool.
- Students know variation within a species increases
the likelihood that at least some members of a species will
survive under changed environmental conditions.
- * Students know the conditions for Hardy-Weinberg
equilibrium in a population and why these conditions are
not likely to appear in nature.
- * Students know how to solve the Hardy-Weinberg
equation to predict the frequency of genotypes in a population,
given the frequency of phenotypes.
- Evolution is the result of genetic changes that occur in
constantly changing environments. As a basis for understanding
- Students know how natural selection determines
the differential survival of groups of organisms.
- Students know a great diversity of species increases
the chance that at least some organisms survive major changes
in the environment.
- Students know the effects of genetic drift on
the diversity of organisms in a population.
- Students know reproductive or geographic isolation
- Students know how to analyze fossil evidence
with regard to biological diversity, episodic speciation,
and mass extinction.
- * Students know how to use comparative embryology,
DNA or protein sequence comparisons, and other independent
sources of data to create a branching diagram (cladogram)
that shows probable evolutionary relationships.
- * Students know how several independent molecular
clocks, calibrated against each other and combined with
evidence from the fossil record, can help to estimate how
long ago various groups of organisms diverged evolutionarily
from one another.
- As a result of the coordinated structures and functions of
organ systems, the internal environment of the human body remains
relatively stable (homeostatic) despite changes in the outside
environment. As a basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know how the complementary activity
of major body systems provides cells with oxygen and nutrients
and removes toxic waste products such as carbon dioxide.
- Students know how the nervous system mediates
communication between different parts of the body and the
body's interactions with the environment.
- Students know how feedback loops in the nervous
and endocrine systems regulate conditions in the body.
- Students know the functions of the nervous system
and the role of neurons in transmitting electrochemical
- Students know the roles of sensory neurons, interneurons,
and motor neurons in sensation, thought, and response.
- * Students know the individual functions and
sites of secretion of digestive enzymes (amylases, proteases,
nucleases, lipases), stomach acid, and bile salts.
- * Students know the homeostatic role of the kidneys
in the removal of nitrogenous wastes and the role of the
liver in blood detoxification and glucose balance.
- * Students know the cellular and molecular basis
of muscle contraction, including the roles of actin, myosin,
Ca+2 , and ATP.
- * Students know how hormones (including digestive,
reproductive, osmoregulatory) provide internal feedback
mechanisms for homeostasis at the cellular level and in
- Organisms have a variety of mechanisms to combat disease.
As a basis for under-standing the human immune response:
- Students know the role of the skin in providing
nonspecific defenses against infection.
- Students know the role of antibodies in the body's
response to infection.
- Students know how vaccination protects an individual
from infectious diseases.
- Students know there are important differences
between bacteria and viruses with respect to their requirements
for growth and replication, the body's primary defenses
against bacterial and viral infections, and effective treatments
of these infections.
- Students know why an individual with a compromised
immune system (for example, a person with AIDS) may be unable
to fight off and survive infections by microorganisms that
are usually benign.
- * Students know the roles of phagocytes, B-lymphocytes,
and T-lymphocytes in the immune system.